Dominique Antony Porthaux (French, ca. 1751–1839 Paris)
L. 51 in. (129.4 cm)
Aerophone-Reed Vibrated-double reed
Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 1999
Not on view
The most modern feature of this bassoon is the speaker key at the wing joint, meant to facilitate the playing of the highest notes. The instrument comes with two wing joints for high and low pitch, the original bocal, two boxes of period reeds, and its original case. Porthaux's basson foreshadows what later in the nineteenth century came to be called the French bassoon, as opposed to the German bassoon, featuring a colorful, slender and slightly nasal sound.
Marking: (stamped beneath a crown) "PORTHAUX / A / PARIS"